Birth Boot Camp® Natural Childbirth Education Classes – Online and Instructor-

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Kim Graves, Birth Boot Camp childbirth educator on Whibley Island, Washington State

Birth Classes on Whidbey Island, WA

The choice to name this childbirth company, “Birth Boot Camp” was intentional. We wanted people to know that the class was intensive and serious and we wanted partners to feel comfortable coming to class and not feel like it was all just focused on the mother. One result is that we have our fair share of women teaching who were active duty military or are married to active duty military. We love having them be part of our organization. And because they tend to move on a regular basis, they help us spread the Birth Boot Camp love around the country (and world)!

Today we will introduce you to Kim Graves. She was one of the incredible women who has taken our training. Now residing and teaching childbirth classes in Washington State on Whidbey Island, she is dedicated to helping women have better births no matter where she is. Let’s meet her!

Kim Graves, Birth Boot Camp childbirth educator on Whidbey Island, Washington State

First, could you introduce yourself? Tell us a little bit about your own birth experiences and how they influenced your desire to teach birth classes.

My name is Kim Graves and I’m a mom to three beautiful children, a daughter and two sons, all born naturally. I grew up in Hawaii, went to school in San Diego, then married a Navy man and have lived in WA, CA, and FL, and am now currently back in Washington state, on beautiful Whidbey Island.

When I got pregnant with my first I thought I’d just do what everyone else did, and go to the hospital to get an epidural. But as I started to research birth a bit more I knew that wasn’t what I wanted. My husband & I took a 12 week childbirth class and it was the best thing we could have done! I had an amazing natural hospital birth in our small town community hospital. 3 years later I found myself pregnant again, but living in a different place with a hospital I knew for sure I didn’t want to birth in, so I started researching midwives. After interviewing the one closest to us, it was actually my husband who said we should do it at home. He’s in the Navy and was likely going to be deployed for the birth, so the added comfort of not having to worry about what to do with our older daughter was a big factor. My husband ended up missing my son’s birth by just 8 hours! But I have to say that even though I’d never wish him not there for a birth, giving birth in just the presence of women was an amazing experience. My third baby was born at home also, and was my husband’s first homebirth experience, and it was so fun to see him finally “get” why I loved my homebirth with our second baby.

I knew as soon as we took our class with our first pregnancy that I wanted to teach childbirth education. It made such a huge impact on me, not only learning things I wasn’t learning anywhere else, but also being surrounded by other couples who had the same goal of a natural birth. I was surrounded by naysayers when I’d say I was planning a natural birth, so having that community was so important to me.

What first got you interested in the realm of birth?

Popping that first baby out! It was so empowering! I wanted every woman to know they could have an amazing birth, and not fear it so much like society tells us we should. I very quickly became a birth junkie!

What are your particular passions concerning birth?

That women can’t always trust who they birth with. A woman should be able to walk into a hospital and have the birth they want, but unfortunately that’s just not true so much of the time these days. It’s hard, because I think it’s so different now than even our mother’s generation, so when we’re hearing our mother’s stories we think we can do it. So many women just don’t realize what they’re up against when they walk in the hospital doors. The policy that often isn’t evidence based, the deeply ingrained ideas many doctors hold that birth needs to be “fixed” or managed. And that women themselves don’t realize it doesn’t need to be managed either, that our bodies are MEANT to do this, even without help of doctors and hospitals, and pitocin and epidurals, and monitoring belts and IVs.

There are lots of different childbirth educator training programs out there. Why did you choose Birth Boot Camp?

Without naming names, there were several programs I was looking at when my second baby got to an age where I finally decided to jump in and pursue this goal. But none of them were really speaking to me. And then Birth Boot Camp was announced. The timing was just meant to be! What I love most about it, besides that it’s so comprehensive and up to date, is that it’s women run. Every other program I was looking at was run by men, and that seemed to be part of their weakness. I love that Birth Boot Camp was “birthed” by women!

Tell us a little about your Birth Boot Camp training experience. Where did you train? What did you like about it?

I was living in Florida at the time and flew to Dallas for my training. I had originally planned on training in June, but then found myself pregnant again and due in July! My husband wasn’t comfortable with me traveling so late in my pregnancy, so I moved up my training to April. It made it a little tight, since I had to fit all my reading and preparation into 5 months instead of 7, but I loved immersing myself into the material. The training itself was so much fun. Being surrounded by so many passionate women is inspiring! And getting to meet Donna & Sarah was a huge bonus!

How is teaching your own classes going for you? What do you enjoy most about it?

I still feel pretty new to this game. I taught one class with one student in Florida before we moved back to Washington, where I’m starting all over again as far as networking and getting my name out there. I’m currently planning a class for November, and have had a lot of interest! Whidbey Island is a fairly small community, and is sorely lacking in childbirth education options. I’ve had a very warm welcome from the birth community here, and lots of interest from potential students!

In what ways did the Birth Boot Camp teacher training help prepare you for teaching actual classes?

What I loved most was actually seeing all the demos that are talked about in our instructor manual. I’m a visual learner, so that was huge for me. We also each got to mock teach a topic to the group, and it was so helpful to see how differently everyone approached their topics. Everyone has their own style, and it was great to get a taste of so many.

To close, tell us how you see natural childbirth education having a positive impact? Why does this work matter to you?

As a feminist, what I love most about childbirth education is how empowering it is. Women own their choices, and own their births, and go into parenthood more confident. I love how we include dads, to help empower them, too! There are also so many health benefits, and as we see more research being done I think we’ll start seeing more of a backlash against managed birth and hopefully more women choosing natural births, which I hope in turn will push hospitals to change their policies to be more mother and baby friendly, and more evidence based.

Where can we find you? (Website, FB page, physical location, etc.)

Kim-Graves-web

My website is KeepCalmBirthOn.com. I’m teaching in Oak Harbor, WA, which is located on Whidbey Island. My email is kgraves(at)birthbootcamp(dot)com

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Registered Nurse and Natural Birth Instructor- Meet Shazia!

Birth Boot Camp now has over 100 instructors spanning from coast to coast in the United States and a couple in other countries (and more to come!) We simply adore our birth instructors and are so glad they have taken this leap with us to help make birth better through education. Because there are so many of them now we are eager to introduce them to you! Our instructors are diverse in every way imaginable but have one thing in common- they were changed by birth and they want to share that power with you. Our birth teachers know that YOU can have an amazing birth. They know it.

Today I am pleased to introduce you to Shazia Lackey, one of our very first certifying birth teachers. She teaches birth classes in Arlington, TX. Below is an interview with this amazing woman. Check her out!

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First, could you introduce yourself? Tell us a little bit about your own birth experiences and how they influenced your desire to teach birth classes.

Hi! I’m Shazia Lackey. I have one son and am currently pregnant with my second. I had my first baby in 2011 with the help of a Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM). It was a great birth experience that set me up for an easy postpartum recovery. I also successfully nursed my son until he was 23 months. I know that my unmedicated birth set us up for breastfeeding success! Not to mention my son and I being healthy and complication-free, my birth was incredibly empowering! I knew I wanted to help other moms achieve that experience with their own births!

What first got you interested in the realm of birth?

I have been a registered nurse since 2008. I was fortunate that I had amazing instructors at the University of Texas at Arlington School of Nursing. One of my professors was even a CNM! I learned so much about evidence based birth practices during my time in nursing school that I knew it was the best option for me and my baby. My husband and I prepared for a natural birth by taking a comprehensive birth class. I was empowered by my own birth experience and I wanted to help other couples with their journey preparing for birth!

What are your particular passions concerning birth?

I am passionate about giving moms and dads all of the information that they need so they can make their own decisions to ensure the best birth possible. I also love that couples who prepare and plan for a natural birth are more likely to be successful meeting their breastfeeding goals. I am a huge breastfeeding advocate. I nursed my son for 23 months and have served on the lactation committee at a local pediatric hospital for the last 2 years. I have the privilege in my nursing career of helping other moms nurse their babies as a breastfeeding resource nurse for my department at work. I also am beginning to help lead a local mom to mom breastfeeding support group! I utilize this passion to help each and every one of my Birth Boot Camp students succeed with breastfeeding.

There are lots of different birth educator training programs out there. Why did you choose Birth Boot Camp?

Birth Boot Camp covers EVERYTHING! While my husband and I were well prepared for birth, I do feel that we missed out on some crucial information during our comprehensive birth class. I love that Birth Boot Camp also covers pregnancy, breastfeeding, postpartum, and newborn care. I also love the up-to-date and modern material we use to teach Birth Boot Camp curriculum.

Tell us a little about your Birth Boot Camp training experience. Where did you train? What did you like about it?

I trained to become a Birth Boot Camp instructor in April 2013 in Texas. I loved getting extensive information to help me teach my classes and be successful as an instructor. I also loved getting to network with other birth professionals from all over!

How is teaching your own classes going for you? What do you enjoy most about it?

I have been teaching for a little over a year now and am currently teaching my 5th class series. I love it! I love getting to know each couple during the 10 week series and especially love hearing about their great birth experiences! Many of my students have stayed in touch and I enjoy seeing their babies grow and helping moms with breastfeeding and newborn care!

In what ways did the Birth Boot Camp teacher training help prepare you for teaching actual classes?

I loved that I met moms at instructor training who have had all types of birth experiences! It was so helpful to hear their stories. I take much of what I learned from them and incorporate that into my teaching. For example, I haven’t had a home birth myself, but through the experiences of other instructors, I can confidently prepare my students who are planning a home birth.

Tell us a little about your students. How do you believe childbirth education is having a positive impact on them?

I have taught 17 couples since I became certified last year. I have seen first time moms achieve amazing, empowering birth experiences. I have seen second or third time moms finally get the birth experience they deserve! I have even seen moms who have had complications during birth and were well-prepared to handle them and still went on to have a great birth!

One of my second time moms was adamant about having a better birth this time around and her husband was totally not on board. He came to class each week but rolled his eyes and even fell asleep a few times! She ended up having an amazing birth experience! At our class reunion, her husband was a completely changed man! I have seen women be moved and changed from their birth experience, but never a dad! It was amazing. He spoke about her birth experience with such passion. He admitted that he was totally skeptical going in to birth and afterwards said he tells all of his friends and coworkers with pregnant wives to take Birth Boot Camp! He was especially impressed with his wife’s postpartum recovery. He said it was amazing how much faster she bounced back after her birth than the first time. He also said he felt he bonded instantly with this baby that he attributes to being involved in the birth instead of sitting on the sidelines the first time around.

To close, tell us how you see natural childbirth education having a positive impact? Why does this work matter to you?

Our maternity care in the United States is suffering! Many women believe that all of the interventions are “necessary” and birth is painful and awful. I have encountered many women who have thought I was completely nuts for telling them my birth was amazing and their birth can be too. Natural childbirth education is not only preparing moms and dads to achieve a natural birth, but also to empower and encourage other women around them to do the same!

Shazia-Lackey-web

Where can we find you?

I teach classes in Arlington, TX. You can find my class schedule and contact information at www.AboveBeyondBirth.com

And you can hear from Shazia on our You Tube channel!


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7jsktW5weiU&list=UU9VTK51bWOJ5o0S5A0h8VWw

Are Birth Classes For Women Planning An Epidural?

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One thing that we as a company and our fabulous birth instructors get asked on occasion is this:

“I am not so sure I want a natural birth, should I still take your class?”

The short answer is a surprising yes.  And we aren’t just saying that because we sell birth classes.  No matter what kind of birth you are planning, we highly recommend that you take a comprehensive class of some sort.  Yes, our classes certainly do focus on preparing you for a natural birth, but they are so much more than that.   Read more

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